Former Samsung engineers build a smart umbrella

Opus One will tell you what the weather's going to be before you leave the house.

Daniel Cooper / Engadget

Wouldn't it be great if your umbrella told you if it was going to rain before you left the house each morning? That's the idea behind the Opus One, a(nother) smart brolly that's been designed by a team of former Samsung engineers. The device (for it is not an umbrella now, but a device) connects to your smartphone over Bluetooth and pulls weather reports every morning. When it's time to go out, you simply shake the handle and a light will flash red or green, depending on what's coming.

That's not the only thing that it can do, however, and Opus One will also offer up smartphone notifications in the form of vibrations. Should you receive an incoming call or message, the handle will shake to let you know that there's something you need to check. In addition, the handle doubles as a Bluetooth tether, so if you leave your phone — or umbrella — behind, the other device will let you know before you get too far away.

Rather than a built-in battery, Opus One is designed to use a quartet of AAA batteries that, the company says, will last for a year with normal use. It's already available in Japan and Korea, but the startup is looking for distributors to get its products out in the western world. The team designed it with England in mind, since the handles come either in the shape of a bowler-hatted gentleman or a Queen's guard. Apparently the company's head watched a lot of Kingsman: The Secret Service during the development phase.